Hot flushes, irritability, sleep disruption, weight gain, mood changes, loss of libido, joint and muscle pains... for many women, the menopause is very tough. While some sail through, about one in four has severe symptoms that can last for years.
My wife, Clare, who is 59, said one of the worst things were the unpredictable hot flushes.
During the night she could never decide whether to have the duvet on or off, and the resultant insomnia added to brain fog and tiredness, which affects a lot of women going through the Change.
I once heard a woman say: ‘I’m getting so forgetful I could throw myself a surprise party’.
Clare, who has been a GP for more than 30 years, is a fan of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) — in the right patients — and she is currently using a cream-based version. Despite all the scare stories, she thinks that for many women the benefits of taking it clearly outweigh the risks.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
But there are plenty of women who can’t take HRT, or would rather not, so what are the alternatives?
Researchers at Barcelona University in Spain enrolled 37 post-menopausal women in a study where - after tests and filling in a menopause-related symptom questionnaire - they were randomly allocated to drinking half a pint of beer or a pint of non-alcoholic beer a day
One of the more surprising suggestions, which comes with the backing of a clinical trial, is that women struggling with the menopause should consider drinking beer.
The thinking is that beer is a good source of isoxanthohumol, a chemical produced by hops that has anti-inflammatory properties.
This is converted by the microbes in your gut into a very powerful phytoestrogen, a plant-based version of the female hormone, oestrogen.
Since a fall in oestrogen is behind many menopause symptoms, topping up your phytoestrogens should, in theory, be a good way to reduce them.
To test this, researchers at Barcelona University in Spain enrolled 37 post-menopausal women in a study where — after tests and filling in a menopause-related symptom questionnaire — they were randomly allocated to drinking half a pint of beer or a pint of non-alcoholic beer a day, or to continue as before.
As the researchers reported in the journal Nutrients, at the end of six months those who drank beer — both alcoholic and non-alcoholic — experienced significant improvements in their menopause-related symptoms.
The most common symptom, joint and muscular discomfort, improved significantly (with 70 per cent of the beer drinkers reporting this), as did their physical and mental exhaustion (70 per cent), and sleep problems (65 per cent).Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
Surprisingly enough, the beer drinkers didn’t put on weight, while those drinking the non-alcoholic beer also experienced significant reductions in blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
There are plenty of downsides to alcohol, so I wouldn’t recommend knocking back beers on the basis of this one small study.
Hot flushes, irritability, sleep disruption, weight gain, mood changes, loss of libido, joint and muscle pains... for many women, the menopause is very tough
But what it does point towards is some of the potential benefits of